Orvakal Mandal Podhupu Lakshmi Ikya Sangam (OMPLIS) is a federation of 10,000 rural poor women. This federation evolved as a result of South Asia Poverty Alleviation Program(SAPAP) implemented in Orvakal Mandal of Kurnool(District), Andhra Pradesh, India from 1995-2000. Later on this federation was strengthened and supported by Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP), Andhra Pradesh. Now it evolved as a self-sustained community based organization. It is an organization formed by rural poor women and totally managed by themselves. Since 1995, OMPLIS evolved as a laboratory where lot of experimentation happened in the field of social mobilization and poverty alleviation. The lessons learnt from this experiment leads to a sustainable model for poverty reduction. OMPLIS is now playing a key role in replicating this model all over India and South Asia along with her mother organization SERP.
Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh is known for its backwardness and poverty. Orvakal is one of the mandals in Kurnool(district) of Rayalaseema region. Even though this mandal is just 22 km away from Kurnool district head quarters, the poverty scenario of this mandal in 1995 was very pathetic. It was a drought prone area with sparse rainfall, rocky soils and rain-fed crops. From every village, during harvest period, two to three truck loads of poor people migrates to coastal region in search of work. They used come back after three months with two to three bags of food grains. Nearly 2500 child laborers were identified in 1997 in 27 villages. 90 % of the women married at the age of below 15 years. child marriages were very common. Untouchability was very intense in this area. Dalits were not allowed in to the temples, hotels or water sources. Lot of exploitation by the elite. 90% of the women are illiterate. Violence against women was alarming. Factionism made poor people's lives more miserable. OMPLIS, the federation of 10000 rural poor women evolved from this background and declared a war against this kind of utter poverty.
It all began with three illiterate poor women volunteers - Annamma, a street vendor ; Pakeeramma, a scavenger ; Subbamma, a wage laborer -. These three women walked all the 27 villages of ORVAKAL mandal with unprecented levels of conviction, courage and confidence and sowed the seeds of social mobilization. In this process, from every village one or two volunteers evolved from the poorest communities. A force of 30 young boys and girls with minimum education took the flag of povery alleviation into their hands and started organizing the poor into SELF HELP GROUPS (SHGs). In the beginning only two villages (Hussainapuram, Kalva) were transformed into resource villages. These two villages acted as nodal points in strenghthing the SHGs of the rest of the villages in Orvakal. A new concept of poor identifying the poor, poor organizing the poor and poor learning from the poor evolved gradually and the strategy of Community Resource Persons took its birth.
Ramakka - a poor dalit women who lost her four children due to poverty ; Ramasubbamma - a beggar from tribal community who used to live in the village shelter-home; Ratnamma - a wife of a bonded laborer and mother of two child laborers; Sabira - a poor muslim woman who lost her husband at the age of 20. Pakeeramma - a dalit scavenger; Mahadevamma - a widow whose husband was killed in the hands of factionists, are the building blocks of OMPLIS. The transformation in the lives of such women is the whole story of OMPLIS. To know more about the transformed lives of our women please visit WHEN WOMEN UNITED.